All the hairy details.
Is IPL treatment really all it’s cracked up to be? Or is a good old-fashioned wax the best way to prep for pool season? We’ve (literally) torn our hair out to find answers so you can emerge triumphantly – and without ingrown hair – from winter hibernation.
The classic hair removal method. Sure, shaving is cheap and painless (if you’re doing it right). But even if you’ve mastered the perfect shave, it still requires a lot of upkeep. First there’s finding the right razor, then there’s the question of shaving cream, and every 3 days you have to balance on one leg on a wet, slippery surface. It’s both time-consuming and risky.
A safer, though slightly smellier, option is depilatory creams. They work by dissolving the hair just below the surface of the skin, so you stay silky smooth a bit longer than shaving. And since there’s no razor involved, you can say goodbye to knicks, cuts and razor burn. The downside? You still have to do it every week if you want to maintain your naked mole rat status.
Some may consider a leg or bikini line wax cruel and unusual punishment, but it’s still a fairly affordable way to stay hair-free for up to 3 weeks. If you can’t bring yourself to pay someone else $30+ to rip hair out of your body, there are a ton of home waxing kits that will work just fine for all you brave DIY souls out there.
If waxing isn’t for you, epilating offers the same lasting results for less. You can buy an epilator for a one-time cost of $30-$100, depending on the model. If you’re unfamiliar, an epilator is an at-home device that plucks out unwanted hair by the root, using mechanical tweezers on a rotating head. You’ll enjoy weeks of hair-free bliss, and just like those eyebrows you’ve been plucking (or overplucking) since the ‘00s, epilating means you’ll see less hair growth over time.
IPL, or Intense Pulsed Light, is a more permanent solution to unwanted hair. Similar to laser hair removal, it uses light to kill the hair. But instead of a laser that targets each individual hair, it uses broad-spectrum light to cover large patches at once. An IPL treatment is typically cheaper than laser hair removal, but still costs an average of $625 when all is said and done. Considering the average American woman spends $10,000 on shaving products in her lifetime, it seems a fair trade-off to never have to shave, wax or epilate again!
Katie Steadman is a native Texan roaming Asia with a penchant for writing, and solving sudoku puzzles at breakneck speed.